Poppy Adams is a documentary filmmaker with a Natural Science degree who has made films for the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. She has three children and lives with her husband in London.
Joan Aiken (1924-2004) was born in Rye, Sussex. She was the daughter of the American poet Conrad Aiken, and her step-father was English writer Martin Armstrong. Joan Aiken wrote over 100 books for young readers and adults and is recognised as one of the classic children's authors of the twentieth century.Her best-known books are The Wolves of Willoughby Chase chronicles and the Arabel's Raven series, but she is also famous for her brilliant short stories. Joan Aiken received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in the United States as well as the Guardian Award for Fiction. She was decorated with an MBE for her services to children's books.
Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott was born in Pennsylvania in 1832. Like the character of Jo March in Little Women, young Louisa didn't conform to the restrictions placed on girls of the period: 'No boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race,' she claimed, 'and no girl if she refused to climb trees, leap fences.' And, also like Jo, she was highly imaginative and writing was an early passion.As her family was often in financial difficulty, Louisa worked from a young age to support her family, taking any position available: a governess, domestic servant, seamstress and teacher were among her jobs. She also wrote poetry and short stories for popular magazines, and melodramatic novels under a pseudonym. When the American Civil War began, Louisa, who fervently opposed slavery, lamented that women weren't able to fight, and volunteered as a nurse at the Union Hospital in Georgetown, Washington. Her nursing career was brief as she contracted typhoid, but she wrote Hospital Sketches, a truthful and poignant account based on letters she wrote home to her family in Concord, and it was published to great acclaim.In 1868 Louisa was asked by her publisher to write 'a girls' story'. This resulted in Little Women, which is largely based on the experiences of the author and her three sisters. It was a phenomenal success. In a time when children's books were morality tales featuring idealised, two-dimensional protagonists, Little Women was revolutionary, peopled as it was by relatable, flawed, fully realised characters. Its success guaranteed financial stability for Louisa, who continued the March family's story in Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys. Louisa never married, concluding that 'liberty is a better husband than love.' She died in 1888 and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.
Candace Allen received her BA from Harvard before attending the New York University School of Film and Television, becoming the first African-American female member of the Directors Guild of America. She has been an assistant director, a screenwriter and now a novelist.
Gail Anderson-Dargatz used to live on a farm near Millet, Alberta & now lives on Vancouver Island with her husband & son. THE CURE FOR DEATH BY LIGHTNING became an instant bestseller in Britain and Canada and won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Award, the VanCity Book Prize and a Betty Trask Prize.
Dr Maya Angelou was one of the world's most important writers and activists. Born 4 April 1928, she lived and chronicled an extraordinary life: rising from poverty, violence and racism, she became a renowned author, poet, playwright, civil rights' activist - working with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King - and memoirist. She wrote and performed a poem, 'On the Pulse of Morning', for President Clinton on his inauguration; she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and was honoured by more than seventy universities throughout the world.She first thrilled the world with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). This was followed by six volumes of autobiography, the seventh and final volume, Mom & Me & Mom, published in 2013. She wrote three collections of essays; many volumes of poetry, including His Day is Done, a tribute to Nelson Mandela; and two cookbooks. She had a lifetime appointment as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University of North Carolina. Dr Angelou died on 28 May 2014.
Carol Anshaw is the award-winning author ( the Carl Sandburg award and the Society of Midland Authors Award) of three previous novels, Aquamarine, Seven Moves and Lucky in the Corner. In 1995 she received a Creative Writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She reviews for major newspapers. She lives in Chicago and teaches creative writing at Vermont College.
Lisa Appignanesi was born in Poland and grew up in France and Canada. A novelist and writer, she is visiting professor of Literature and the Medical Humanities at King's College London. She was chair of the Freud Museum from 2008-2014 and is a former president of English PEN. She was awarded an OBE for services to Literature in 2013. Her published work includes Mad, Bad and Sad, All About Love and Losing the Dead. @LisaAppignanesi
Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939. She is Canada's most eminent novelist and poet is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye and Alias Grace have all been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and she has won many literary prizes in other countries. Her work has been translated into thirty-three languages. Her latest novel, The Blind Assassin won the 2000 Booker Prize.
David Baddiel co-created three of the most popular comedy programmes in BBC TV history and his stand-up comedy act is always a sell-out nationwide.
Virginia Baily holds a PhD and MA in English from the University of Exeter. She founded and co-edits Riptide, a short-story journal. She is also the co-editor of the political series of the Africa Research Bulletin. She lives in Exeter, Devon. Her novels include Early One Morning and The Fourth Shore.www.virginiabaily.com
A prominent figure in TV and the arts in Britain, Joan Bakewell has been a broadcaster for over forty years, a print journalist for over twenty years, and has published her autobiography, The Centre of the Bed. ALL THE NICE GIRLS was her first novel. She was made a Dame in 2008.
Josie Barnard has been an editor, journalist and radio broadcaster. Her first novel, POKER FACE (Virago), was the winner of a Betty Trask Award. She lives in London.
Janina Bauman was born Janina Lewinson in Warsaw into an assimilated, educated, well-off Jewish family of doctors. Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939 put an end to an idyllic childhood and saw Janina, her sister, Zosia, and their mother incarcerated in the Warsaw ghetto, and later, after their escape, beyond its walls. Series: Other livesPrevious | Next | Index Janina Bauman obituary (6)Tweet this (8)Lydia Bauman guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 26 January 2010 18.21 GMT Article history Janina Bauman's writings about her early life were characteristically non-judgmental and free of bitterness.My mother, Janina Bauman, who has died aged 83, was a writer who has left an indelible mark on the literature of the Holocaust. In the words of one of her many friends, she was "a truly beautiful person, who made things golden". Janina's serene demeanour and dreamy, thoughtful disposition, belied the turbulence of her early life as witness to the horrors of the Warsaw ghetto and postwar antisemitic purges in socialist Poland.Her testament to the times, and to the enduring human spirit, came in the form of two autobiographical volumes, both published by Virago - Winter in the Morning (1986), based on diaries she kept as a young girl during the war, and A Dream of Belonging (1988) - which were republished last year in one volume as Beyond These Walls.She was born Janina Lewinson in Warsaw into an assimilated, educated, well-off Jewish family of doctors. Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939 put an end to an idyllic childhood and saw Janina, her sister, Zosia, and their mother incarcerated in the Warsaw ghetto, and later, after their escape, beyond its walls. Dreaming of 'belonging', after enforced wartime idleness, Janina threw herself with passionate idealism into the cause of Zionism, and later into the rebuilding of socialist Poland. In March 1948, while studying journalism at the Warsaw Academy of Social Sciences, she met and found her soulmate in a 'handsome army captain', intellectual and committed communist, Zygmunt Bauman, whose proposal of marriage she accepted nine days later. Together they raised a family and pursued their careers - Janina rapidly advancing in the Polish film industry, Zygmunt as a lecturer in sociology at Warsaw University. Disillusionment with communism following the denouncement of Stalin by Khrushchev in 1956, and the pressures of antisemitic persecution compelled the Baumans to leave Poland for Israel in 1968, three years later settling in Leeds, West Yorkshire, where Zygmunt took on the chair of sociology at the university. It was there that Janina turned to writing - her moving testimonies characteristically non-judgmental and free of bitterness. She died in January 2009, aged 83.
Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was one of Britain's best-loved writers for both adults and children. Several of her children's books - Carrie's War, a Phoenix Award winner;The Peppermint Pig, which won the Guardian Fiction Award; and Keeping Henry - have become contemporary classics. She wrote over forty novels, slightly more than half of which are for adults, and she was shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. She received the prestigious S T Dupont Golden Pen Award for a lifetime's contribution to literature in 2004, and in 2010 The Birds on the Trees was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.
John Bayley is Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford.
Sally Beauman read English at Girton College, Cambridge. She worked as a journalist in America and Britain before beginning to write fiction. She is the author of six previous novels, including the acclaimed Rebecca's Tale.
Catherine Bennett writes for the Guardian and the Observer. She lives in London.
Lauren Berry is the founding editor of satirical feminist magazine KnockBack. She has been featured in the Guardian, Observer and Easy Living. Lauren makes a living in branding and journalism under a variety of guises, including the pseudonym Marie Berry. She lives and works in London. Living the Dream is her first novel.
Ingrid Betancourt lived in France and New Zealand before returning to Colombia to campaign for the presidency, when she was kidnapped.